December 30, 2022

Putin was For NATO Expansion before He was Against It?

Bryan Alexander argues:

Those who weren't paying attention to Putin or Ukraine until February of this year, and insist "NATO expansion" somehow "goaded" Putin into invading Ukraine (which is literally nonsense, and nothing but Russian propaganda), literally don't know what they're talking about. Here's a quote that proves it:

"I am absolutely convinced that Ukraine will not shy away from the processes of expanding interaction with NATO and the Western allies as a whole. Ukraine has its own relations with NATO; there is the Ukraine-NATO Council. At the end of the day the decision [on Ukraine joining NATO] is to be made by NATO and Ukraine. It is a matter for those two partners.”

Who said it? Vladimir Putin, May 17, 2002.

Tim replies:

Conditions had changed Bryan. Back then Putin wanted to make it clear that Ukraine was indeed a sovereign country. France and Germany both opposed Ukrainian membership, and Ukraine did not meet the qualifications of membership anyway. All that changed with the CIA backed coup against the lawfully elected government.

In his 2007 Munich Security Conference speech Putin said:

"NATO has put its front-line forces on our borders, We have the right to ask: Against whom is this expansion intended?”

It was clear back then he was not willing to tolerate NATO expansion into the heart of the old Soviet Republics.

And it should be pointed out that Russia wanted to join NATO back in 2000 but were largely rebuffed. So then NATO expanded eastward.

The Baltic States were accepted into NATO in 2004, after Putin made his statement.

And missile defense systems have since been deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic, changing the equation.

I'm sorry Bryan but a 20 some-odd year old quote is hardly smoking gun proof that Putin only now is opposed to Ukrainian membership in NATO. He may have been o.k. with it (when it wasn't going to happen anyway) but when faced with a stark reality things change. And no doubt the Russian populace is upset by it.

I appreciate your position on this but I think there is zero attempt to see the Russian side here. I also must ask, who is it that is beating the war drum in the West? The Leftists and mainstream media, that's who.

I purposely link more than one post from WaPo, as they and the rest of the media are all on board with this. But even some of their own writers admit this is not so clear-cut.

Oh, and Bryan you say "At the end of the day the decision [on Ukraine joining NATO] is to be made by NATO and Ukraine." Note that "joining NATO" is in brackets, meaning he didn't say that. He spoke of NATO Ukrainian relations. I would have to look it up to see it in the Curillic, but I rather suspect this is an interpretation and not perhaps a good translation of what he said. Certainly he didn't say he was o.k. with them JOINING NATO, just having good relations. He may have been saying Ukrainian membership in NATO was fine too, but I would want to see the original Russian to determine that. At any rate it certainly was the case that, at the time, Putin had little to lose by making such statements. Again, he wanted to join NATO himself.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 11:18 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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